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For this inaugural column on The Carmel Valley Life, I’m sharing one of my old high school entries, along with my personal reflections and insights.
I didn’t go to the river with Karen today because John said he’d call, so I was hoping we would have a date. He finally called at 7 p.m., but we just talked for little bit. He didn’t ask me out. I wonder what he is doing.
Today: I remember everything about that day. It was a hot, sunny Labor Day and my friends invited me to go to the river before going back to school the next day. While they were out roasting hot dogs, swimming and blasting the car radio with the doors wide open, I was sitting next to the phone…waiting.
The day before, my boyfriend had said, “I’ll call you tomorrow.” I’d hoped that meant we would have a date, so I stayed home to wait for his call. This was in the era before smart phones. Okay, truth be told, it was before answering machines. Regardless of the technology of the day, I was sacrificing my personal boundaries to external devices. I bought into the ageless theme of giving my power away. This act weaves through time and into the hearts of all who feel unworthy of claiming the present moment for themselves.
Today, I see it when I watch girls surrendering their soul-based personal power to a hand-held device as they bury their heads to check for the next text. The cost? Time with family and friends who are across the table. Sleep. The present moment in general. Some have controlling boyfriends who want to know where they are all the time. Others simply make themselves available 24/7. A survey by Pew Research revealed that one in three teens sends more than 100 text messages a day, or 3000 texts a month.
On a larger scale, there are lessons in this for all of us. Consider the voice to whom you are on call. How many moments do you give up in a month to worry, stress and negative thinking? During the holiday season, we give our power away to the devices of holiday frenzy.
In this month, I’d like to challenge the community of Carmel Valley San Diego, to set your timer to go off a minimum of once a day to capture the essence of personal boundaries you are experiencing in that moment. Ask yourself, “Do I feel happy? Do I have peace of mind?” Or are you stressed? If you feel anything other than peace, take a deep breath and tell yourself that you can choose peace instead of whatever you are feeling. Give yourself permission to sit with it for a minute to make the mental and physical shift. Breathe. A journey begins with a step, and a moment of peace is the beginning of a happy life. As you become mindful to take a moment for yourself now and then, you will feel drawn to want more. It doesn’t mean that you become selfish, it means that you honor your authentic self, and by example, you teach others to do the same.
My favorite quote on this subject is by Eleanor Roosevelt. “No one makes you feel inferior without your consent.” I’d like to offer a deeper challenge to the message in this quote: “Nothing outside of yourself makes you lose inner peace.” Well, OK, if a gun is held to your head, maybe. Otherwise, it’s up to you to choose stress, chaos or peace. Don’t let your boundaries be left to external devices of any sort – hand-held or excuses filled. Choose to claim your personal power, be assertive, and maintain healthy boundaries. You are worthy.
What do you think? Share your moments of making the shift to peace. What were you doing, and how did you make the shift? What do you think is worse, me sitting by the phone all day, or teens today, feeling pressure 24/7 to be available via text? How do you honor your boundaries? Join the conversation by commenting or asking your own questions.
Janet Larson Melugin, M.S., is the creator of My Diary Unlocked, a social movement that merges meaningful diary entries with expert insights and guidance to enhance personal growth. Her motto, “share your story – make a difference,” is reflected in her work and in her life. As a young girl, Janet loved reading famous and inspirational quotes. She soaked in the wisdom and use it to propel her life in a progressive movement toward a deeper understanding of herself and others. Her career evolved from human resources development to more direct personal development. Janet’s passion led her from teaching at the top three universities in San Diego to become certified to teach Self-Esteem Seminars (FSS by Jack Canfield) and Redirecting Children’s Behavior (INCAF). Her self-esteem workshops have reached venues from Girl Scouts to unwed teen mothers to Barnes and Noble groups. Janet is the author of the forthcoming book, “My Diary Unlocked.” She lives in Carmel Valley with her husband and preteen daughter.